All eyes were on Karine and she knew it. She looked absolutely gorgeous in a tight red dress. It was perhaps a little over the top, with a plunging neckline and a short skirt but when you got it, flaunt it. She was in some bar or other and Peter was playing pool with her but when Terry came along, dressed in tight jeans and a tighter tee-shirt, Peter cowered. Terry threw his hand out and smacked Peter in the face, pushing him down to the ground with a loud thud. Terry grabbed Karine and bent her over, like in an old movie, then kissed her passionately.
“Karine,” said Pater impatiently.
Karine snapped out of her reverie, embarrassed that she’d been so caught up in her daydream that she hadn’t even noticed Peter join her at her locker. She impatiently asked him what he wanted and it came out much nastier than she’d intended.
His eyes narrowed in annoyance. “Did you have a good time last night?”
“Yeah, looked like it,” he snapped.
She resisted rolling her eyes and gently asked him if everything was ok. He said that she and Terry seemed pretty close and she insisted that they were just friends and had been since childhood. They were like brother and sister. It almost made her gag to say something so ridiculous but whatever, she needed to get Peter off her back. He seemed satisfied enough and they started making out.
God whatever. It was so annoying to have to lie to him. Why couldn’t he just be cool? Not that it was really Peter’s fault for being jealous. He sort of did have the right impression. Damn Terry for not noticing Karine’s feelings for him and damn him for not giving a shit if he did notice and damn him for not wanting her!
Stan and his friends were heavily into Star Wars lately. Not the movies, the online video game. It was actually pretty cool and not entirely boring to watch them play but still boring enough that after a few hours she wanted to do something else. She went into the kitchen and sat at the table eating chips. It was so totally boring. She wished she could watch TV. She really needed to get her own place where she could watch the shows she liked and not be constantly bugged by stupid guys. But that would require money and she didn’t have any. How did other people do it? Jobs of course, but she didn’t know how to get one. If only those stupid guys would give her money. She was already having sex with them; shouldn’t she get something out of it?
She should totally become a prostitute. But then she’d have to have sex with really gross and scary guys. Probably ever grosser than Stan. And she’d never be allowed to say no.
God, she was so bored. One of Stan’s porn mags was lying around so she went ahead and picked it up. All his stupid porn mags were kinda gross but Shauna also secretly sort of enjoyed them on a certain level. They made her feel all tingly and she wanted to look at them while she scratched her legs in the bath, but she was afraid of getting them wet and Stan perhaps noticing.
Bill walked into the kitchen and she hurriedly pushed the magazine aside. He snorted in amusement and grabbed several beers from the fridge. “Having fun?” he smirked.
“No. I’m bored,” she replied.
“I could prob’ly help you out with that,” he said with a wink.
Was that a come-on? Probably. That’s all guys did was play video games and come on to whoever or whatever was around.
“Ok.” She said in response.
Bill looked at her in surprise.
Well, she might as well sleep with him too. She was done with Stan and she was pretty sure she was finished with Rod as well. Maybe it was time to give Bill a try.
“Come back tomorrow when Stan’s at work and you can help me out with that.” She didn’t even try to be coy or flirtatious or whatever. She just said it really matter-of-factly; so much so that she wasn’t sure he got the point. She wasn’t even sure she got the point.
But Bill stammered assent and then slowly walked back to the living room so Shauna went back to looking through the porn mag.
Things seemed to be more or less back to normal, thought it was still a little strained. Karl was acting normal and Vani and Willy were more or less normal so he supposed everything was normal. Except Jay felt totally depressed. So yeah, normal.
It was a Monday so the guys had their lunch break alone, undisturbed by girls or supposedly cool guys and their stupid douchiness.
“So I’ve been giving some thought to your idea of doing a superhero campaign,” said Karl.
“Really?” asked Jay, surprised.
Vani seemed just as surprised and voiced his protest by insisting they couldn’t divert attention from the ever so important campaign of watching him do whatever the hell he wanted while the rest of them were bored out of their skulls.
“So were you thinking a modern environment or a futuristic one?” Karl went on.
“I dunno, whatever I guess,” Jay replied, not even sure he still wanted to start up on another campaign. Maybe he’d just give up gaming altogether. Finally become cool and do whatever cool people did. Like go to bars and concerts or whatever.
“Hey you guys!” beamed Jojo as he joined them with his little girlfriend Cavity. She said hi too, all smiles, arm around her stupid little boyfriend, Jojo.
“Didn’t we get rid of you?” asked Willy before the rest of them could respond.
“What?” asked Jojo.
“I thought we like, got rid of you like, two years ago!”
Cavity scrunched up her face in deep offence. She was about to say something but Willy cut her off.
“Cassie, no offence, but we don’t like your boyfriend. I mean, you’re cool and everything but we really don’t want to hang out with Jojo.”
“You’re an ass,” she replied.
“Sorry, but that’s just how it is.”
“Let’s go, Jonah,” said Cavity with finality, dragging him away.
Vani let out out a breath. “Well that was undoubtedly hilarious but also a little extreme, even for you.”
“Is it like your new thing to be a total asshole to everyone?” asked Jay bitterly.
“His new thing?” said Karl.
“You didn’t have to be so mean to Cavity though,” said Vani. “Although I guess we’re better off without estrogen gumming up the works.”
“And you wonder why you’re a virgin,” said Jay under his breath.
“So Sarah and Jay broke up.”
Cerise looked up to see Karine looming over her. She took the seat next to Cerise, where she sat near the front of the theatre, going over her Art History notes. Cerise was rather enjoying Art History. The tests were stupid because they just involved memorization and that wasn’t really learning but still, the class itself was fun. They got to look at slides, like with an actual slide projector like it was the ‘50s or something but the pictures were cool. It was pretty interesting to learn about the historical context of a bunch of famous artworks. Like how all the greats during the Renaissance did religious paintings because it was the church that commissioned stuff and not because they were actually religious. Apparently Michelangelo even painted little jokes about the pope into the Sistine Chapel, which was pretty hilarious.
“So yeah,” Karine went on.
“Right yeah, Sarah and Jay. Yeah, I heard.”
“So isn’t that awesome?”
“Why would it be awesome? Sarah’s totally sad and Jay isn’t exactly happy-go-lucky guy either.”
“Yeah but now’s your chance to get with him.”
“I don’t even know if I want that,” Cerise whined.
“Of course you do!” Karine insisted.
“Well I guess I could. I mean Sarah actually said that I could get with him if I wanted. Which was actually kind of weird. Just ‘cause she breaks up with him… I mean why would she wanna set me up with him?”
“I dunno, I guess she’s noticed that you guys would be perfect for each other.”
Why was Karine so into the idea of Cerise hooking up with Jay? This was totally weird. Was it all some sort of elaborate set-up to screw Cerise over? Were they all in on it like it was a big joke or something?
“What about Terry?” Cerise said instead.
Karine sighed impatiently. “How can you ever really know how you feel about Terry if you don’t really know how you feel about Jay? And how can you know how you really feel about Jay if you don’t… whatever, just ask him out.”
“I guess,” shrugged Cerise.
“You totally should,” nodded Karine. “Do you want me to do it for you? Like ask him for you?”
“God, no!” Cerise said in annoyance. Seriously, Karine was way too into this.
“Ok well, I’m just saying,” Karine shrugged like it was no big deal.
Obviously it was a big deal. Karine was being way weird. Cerise decided she should talk to Jay about it to see if he knew anything more than she did.
After school, for the first time in forever she went over to his house. She figured he’d be gaming with the guys but he wasn’t. His mom let her into the house and she walked down to the basement to find him sprawled out on the sofa, covered in a Transformers blanket. There were school books strewn about but he wasn’t reading any of them, he was just lying there staring off into space.
“Oh hey,” he said when he noticed her, not bothering to sit up.
“Hey,” she replied, sitting on the other couch.
“Nothing,” she sighed, wondering how to broach the subject. “I heard about you and Sarah.”
“Yeah.” He returned his gaze to the ceiling and after a beat started to cry.
Cerise was stunned. What was she supposed to do? Jay sat up and drew his legs into his chest, muffling his face with the blanket. Cerise crossed the room and sat next to him and put her hand on his shaking shoulders. She wondered if she should say something but didn’t have any ideas so she remained silent.
“I’m such a loser,” he finally spurted, wiping his eyes and forcing out a laugh.
“Are you ok?”
“I’m fine. I just really liked her is all.”
“Maybe if you really like then you should just like be with her. Regardless of what anyone else says.”
“I can’t. The guys…” he trailed off.
“What about them?”
“They won’t let me.”
“What do you mean?”
“They say they’ll expulse me if I go out with her. And I mean, I can understand. She is Karl’s ex-girlfriend.”
“Yeah but, you know what? So what? If you really like someone then you owe it to yourself to try having a relationship with them.” Cerise wasn’t really sure if she was trying to get Jay back with Sarah or get him to look at her in that way.
“But Karl has like, dibs on her or whatever.”
Cerise snorted derisively. “How can you have dibs on a person? I mean you can’t have ownership over another human being. Sarah can go out with whoever she wants. Karl doesn’t own her.”
“But he’s my friend and I like, betrayed him I guess.”
“I guess,” Cerise shrugged. “But still, is it really fair of him to try to stop you from being with someone?”
“Yeah but he won’t be my friend if I go out with her.”
“Yeah, that sucks,” Cerise admitted. “But it’s still unfair. Yeah, he went out with her but they broke up. So now she can never date again? Come on, you can’t go around dictating who people can and can’t go out with.”
“I guess,” Jay shrugged.
“Or hang out with,” Cerise said under her breath, fully realizing how ridiculous her ultimatum to Terry had been. To break up with him because he wanted to be friends with Andrew when he didn’t even know what Andrew had done was completely batshit insane.
“I dunno,” Jay went on. “I don’t wanna lose my friends. I mean, as much as I like Sarah, I’ve been friends with those guys since grade seven. They mean more to me than pretty much anyone else.”
“Well it’s nice that they mean so much to you. But do you mean so much to them? I mean, if they’re so willing to expulse you over this… are they really such great friends?”
Jay’s eyes widened and he stared at her as though it was the first time he’d considered this. What a sad and simple little boy. Cerise decided then and there that she wouldn’t ever go out with him. Probably.
Just like in the movies Bill lit a cigarette after they were done doing stuff. Shauna had started to think he wasn’t going to come over because Stan had already been gone for hours but finally he appeared and when she let him in they both stood in the living room awkwardly. At first he’d suggested they play video games but she’d scoffed at that.
“Look, either fuck me or leave ‘cause I don’t have time for this shit,” she’d said in irritation.
He’d taken the hint and started taking off his clothes. She led him into the bedroom and got naked, not even caring that she was fat and hairy and ugly and gross. He was too. She closed her eyes through the whole thing, pretty much just lying there while he did everything. It didn’t last long. Probably five minutes in all, which was a relief.
“You can let yourself out,” she said as she got up.
“Get out!” she practically screamed as she went to the bathroom. She locked the door and drew a bath and sat in the tub and waited for the water to rise.